The surf was pretty bad, with some waves easily 7+ feet, and of course, since you start with your wave/group, you don’t get to pick when you go into the water (like you would sensibly if you were on your own). Oh yeah, and it was cold. 62 or 63 degrees.

Dave’s wave (with the pretty purple caps) went, then the women’s waves started.

So, we’re all standing around in our group of Athenas and 40+ and mountain bikers (and please tell me again why do we have to go last? I know, we’re all supposed to be the slowest, but I’ve looked at the finishing times, and the top people in these classes did pretty darn well), commenting how we are PROTECTED by our lovely condom-colored swim caps (really — they’re this nasty yellowish semi-translucent plasticky color), watching the surf with trepidition, sagely noting that well, we can always WAIT 30 seconds or so for the set to go by….Yeah, like that ever happens.

The gun goes off and we all charge like wild women into the surf!

That was the longest .5 mile ocean swim I’ve ever done…duh…the longest I’ve ever done straight inthe ocean is more like .25 miles! 20 odd minutes of feeling like I’m going to drown except I’ll freeze first. The biggest waves were actually cresting nearly as far out as the first buoy (150 m out from the shore) and you could feel the swell as you swam lateral to the beach. Luckily the course had us going with the northerly current. A little before I reached the middle buoy I decided to SWIM, not the half-assed crawl I was doing, and I was able to pick it up a little. As I turned the last buoy I tried to aim directly for shore but was still pushed a little north. I could feel the swells start to turn into cresting waves — asked the life guard when I could start bodysurfing — he said catch one and go! I tried, failed, then saw the monster wave bearing down on me. Gotta admit, I faced it and dove under it, then turned back around and let the waves push me in.

I’m still not at the point where I feel good enough to actually RUN through the sand to the transition area. Smiled for the cameras as I trudged across the sand, yanking off my wetsuit, finally breaking into a dog trot as I neared the transition area.

Find my bike (not too hard, there were only a few bikes left in the area anyway), rinse and dry my feet, eat a gel, put on socks, shoes, sunglasses, helmet, head out to the exit….and oh my god, what do I have in my right shoe?! a Clif shot? No time to stop and check, I’m almost out of the transition area….on my bike, clip in and go!

Go! Go! yeah, I’m revved up. The bike is my favorite leg. Bring on those hills I wussed out on when Dave and I rode this route a month or two ago! Bring on the water obstacles! Bring on the construction zone! Woooo hooo! I’m actually on the leg I know I’ll be able to pass people on!

The water obstacle wasn’t so bad….I don’t know if anybody wiped out but everyone around me was okay. Apparently there’s a constant source of water from somewhere flowing under this bridge, because it was pretty slimy with algae.

Up the hill past the Trancas market, through the construction area (thank you Malibu policemen for stopping traffic!), up the various hills slowly, two downhills screaming along at 30 mph, what a blast! Slowing down the last hill to Leo Carrillo, around the parking area, under the bridge, back up to PCH and halfway done….up the evil hill at Leo Carrillo, actually passing someone, back to Zuma, then PAST the transition area etc. because you have to bike to the end of the parking lot then backtrack north to the transition area. Good thing I like the bike, because it was my longest leg at about 1:17.

Unclip, dismount, find my rack again (harder this time because all the bikes are back), get those blasted bike shoes off…it’s a Goody rubberband, an extra I brought, that was in my shoe. Switch to my Brooks, put on my race belt with number, grab my runner girl hat, down a gel and some Power C spiked water, and off!

Sort of.

By now it’s hotter (still not HOT, but you can tell the difference) and my calves are absolutely killing me. I started by alternating about a minute of walking with a minute of jogging/staggering. That lasted about 1.75 miles, when finally my calves gave in (realizing I wasn’t going to) and relaxed and I could actually RUN. I’m sure I had a negative split for the run; I was keeping about the same walk/run ratio but getting further on the running parts. Water was available at the transition area and at each mile.

The running course had a small water obstacle as well — runoff from the bike water obstacle. May I point out that my Brooks, that I just bought this summer, had touched nothing dirtier than treadmills and concrete (and that unfortunate interaction with a pile of dog poo but that’s a different story)? They are now well and surely broken in.

The last run segment was awesome — closing in on the finish, getting beaten by cheering spectators with these white blow up Arrowhead balloon things, picking it up at the end, hearing my name announced.

After-race goodies included pasta with feta cheese, Oreo’s (which I ACTUALLY FORGOT to grab), bananas, oranges, and plenty of water. I had a little bit of pasta and an orange segment.

Total time was 2:46:40 (Dave beat me by about 20 min, most of that on the bike). Slow! but plenty of room for improvement, and I did better than in Breath of Life, over a longer, harder course.

Next week: Mission Bay/ Jamba!